How To Create an Ocean Sensory Bin for Your Kids
It is the eternal struggle of every parent on Earth to constantly look for new ways to keep their children entertained. The real issue comes from there being so many more unhealthy ways to entertain a child than there are healthy ones these days. While it can be tempting to put your child in front of a television, tablet, or computer for long periods of time just to give them something to do, these activities don’t always provide the right kind of stimulation for a growing mind.
Many parents are moving away from the electronics and trying to get back to activities that stimulate their children in healthier ways. Sensory bins aren’t a completely new idea, but there has been a resurgence of these kinds of experiences in recent years.
Making a good sensory bin is about filling it with as many different pieces as you can, which is why we love the idea of an ocean sensory bin! Sand, water, shells, toys—there are so many things your child can play with to spark an interest in sea life as well as cultivate their growing intellects. We’ll go over how to create an ocean sensory bin for your kids to give them a fun and mentally stimulating playtime activity.
What Is a Sensory Bin?
The basic concept of a sensory bin is about as simple as the name would suggest. It’s a large bin or container filled with sensory objects that children can safely handle and play with for different tactile sensations.
Young children often need assistance in fully exploring their senses in safe ways that allow them the freedom to learn on their own. Practically every parent can attest to how much their young children love to touch things, even if they try and grab or play with something that they shouldn’t. Sensory bins give children free rein to play and imagine to their heart’s content without having to worry about breaking things or hurting themselves.
Creating an Ocean Sensory Bin
Ocean sensory bins offer a wide range of textures and pieces that children will love to play with. The setting of a beach or the ocean also gives you a lot of leeway to create games and activities surrounding their favorite toys. Here’s what you need to do to create a kid’s ocean sensory bin that they’ll love.
Gather Your Supplies
The good news for you as a parent is that ocean sensory bins don’t require materials that are difficult to procure. You might have many of these items around the house already, but if you don’t, you can easily find them at most large retailers and craft stores.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Large plastic bin or container
- Sand (real or aquarium gravel)
- Assortment of seashells (easy to find at a craft store)
- Blue food coloring
- Aquatic toys
Set the Scene
Setting up your sensory bin is quite simple. Most ocean sensory bins look similar to little dioramas of a beach. Start by creating your “beach” in one half of the bin, using the sand or gravel to form a shallow slope down to the water. Next, place your seashells or larger rocks in the middle of the bin to create a barrier between the sand and the water. If you choose to, you can glue the rocks and shells together to form a more water-tight barrier.
This barrier of shells or rocks helps keep the sand and water separated, preventing the whole thing from becoming a soupy mess. Pour your water into the other half of the bin to create your ocean. While it is optional, two or three drops of blue food coloring help the water look a little more like the ocean.
Learn Through Play
With the basic construction done, the rest of the setup is up to you and your child. You might want to populate your ocean with some of your child’s favorite sea animal figurines. A bathtub toy like a boat or a submarine also makes a great addition to the bin. Let your child find their own fun as they play around in the sensory bin. If they want to dig a bunch of holes or mix all the water with the sand, that’s perfectly fine! As long as they’re enjoying themselves, the bin is theirs to manipulate.
The Benefits of an Ocean Sensory Bin
If you’re wondering why this sensory bin idea is so good for children, there are plenty of reasons. Above all else, it’s a place for your child to explore their own imagination and learn about tactile play. Below are some of the biggest benefits of creating and playing in an ocean sensory bin.
For younger children, stimulating the senses that they’ll use for the rest of their lives helps them develop a healthy understanding of their body. It can also help out a lot for children with sensory issues, as this lets them explore and push those boundaries a little bit at a time in an environment that they control and is safe.
Fine Motor Skills Improvement
Developing fine motor skills is something that all children do at a different pace. It’s a crucial part of leaving the baby phase of life and becoming a young child. Sensory bins present plenty of opportunities to flex these fine motor skill muscles. If you want to develop them even more, consider adding in some tools like a small shovel or spoon to help them manipulate the bin’s contents even more.
Sharing a sensory bin with another child is a great way for children to learn about cooperation and communicating with others. You may want to carefully supervise these play dates at first, to ensure that all children are taking turns and getting along with one another.
Children get overwhelmed and stressed just like adults do. Children with sensory issues can become frustrated or cranky if they don’t have an outlet for what they’re feeling. A sensory bin gives them plenty of time to just relax and play at their own pace without feeling rushed or overwhelmed by other stimuli.
If the idea of creating your own ocean sensory bin is starting to sound like fun for both you and your child, we’d like to help make it the best sensory experience it can be. Safari Ltd. has a huge selection of ocean toys and animal figurines that will enhance your play time and make memories you’ll cherish forever.